The Jeep Compass was all-new for 2017 adding yet another compact crossover to the market. This is not the old Jeep Compass – not even close – and keeps nothing of the previous model except the familiar badge. The new Compass is an entirely different vehicle that upholds Jeep’s off-road reputation.
Power for the Jeep Compass comes from a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 180 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque paired with one of three transmission choices. There’s either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic with 4×2 models while 4×4 models have either a six-speed manual or a nine-speed automatic.
You also have a choice of four trim levels. There’s the Sport, Latitude, Limited, and Trailhawk. Since this was an all-new model for 2017, it’s essentially a carryover for 2018 except for one major change. The 2018 Limited is available as a 4×2 if you don’t think you need the extra capability, which would be a shame.
There aren’t many crossovers that are off-road worthy despite being higher from the ground than sedans and looking more rugged. These posers aren’t up for tackling anything more challenging than the grassy field doubling as a parking lot at the local fair. The Compass, however, is genuinely off-road capable.
The Compass has two four-wheel drive systems to take you past where the road ends. Jeep Active Drive is a full-time 4×4 system while Jeep Active Drive Low is a full-time 4×4 system with a 20:1 crawl ratio. Both feature Jeep Selec-Terrain with Auto, Snow, Sand, and Mud modes with Trailhawk models getting an extra Rock mode. The Trailhawk also has a one-inch higher ride height, skid plates, up to 19 inches of water fording, and bright red front and rear tow hooks.
We had the chance to drive the Compass in a wide range of conditions from a rugged off road dirt course to snow and ice to clear highways. What’s notable about the Compass is how at home it was in all these situations.
If you want to rock crawl, then go ahead. It handles challenging off-road terrain without complaint. If it’s simply your daily commute you need to manage, its on-road manners are good with a smooth quiet ride. Should you happen to live where it snows, then that 4×4 capability makes sure you can still get to work when the white stuff falls.
The 2017 Jeep Compass offers the roominess and versaitility of a crossover with the capability of a Jeep. It’s priced from $20,995 for the base Sport up to $28,595 for the Trailhawk and is available nationwide.